Yesterday was probably the most I've worked all year. After doing some shopping in the morning with Ed, I had to go grocery shopping for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner. Although my brother pays for everything and hosts Christmas Day at his house, I do all of the cooking. Well, except for the stuffed mushrooms, he makes those.
I got home and started cooking around 1 pm. I had to prepare everything for Christmas Day, in addition to making Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas Eve, La Vigilia Di Natale, is commonly referred to in Southern Italy as The Feast of the Seven Fishes. Typically, in the Catholic faith, you are to refrain from eating meat on this night, hence the smorgasboard of fish. I did not make seven fishes last night (only my father really does that anymore - he makes Baccalà, calamari, scungilli, shrimp...) but I did make a wonderful dinner consisting of a salad of field greens with a bleu cheese vinaigrette dressing, hot Italian bread, shrimp scampi over rice and a vegetable on the side. It was all quite delish and I don't think anyone even missed the other six fishes.
Once I cleaned up the dinner dishes, I had to start on today's menu. I made a nice fresh tomato marinara to put over pasta and also to use between the layers of the eggplant parmigiana that I was making. I think I must have breaded and fried 157 thousand pieces of thinly sliced eggplant. OK, maybe it just felt like that many; it's very time consuming since they have to be thin and golden brown before gracing my baking dish and being topped with fresh marinara and shredded mozzarella.
While working on the eggplant, I concurrently built the Tiramisu I was preparing for dessert. Layers upon layers of lady fingers, specially ordered from A.G. Ferrari, held together with mascarpone cheese and when finished, dusted with cocoa and topped with shavings of dark chocolate. Oh. My. God.
Tomorrow when I get to my brother's house, I will assemble the antipasto which will include roasted red peppers with black olives, sliced mozzarella and hot house tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, artichoke hearts, sliced pepperoni, dry Italian salami, my mother's caponata and my brother's stuffed mushrooms. In addition to that, I am preparing a spinach artichoke dip to be eaten with sliced baguette. I fear we won't be able to move for days after the eating is done.
It's now 9 pm and this is the first time I've sat down since two o'clock. I didn't have enough marinara left over for the pasta after I finished layering the pans of eggplant, so I had to make another huge pot. That added work was unexpected. I just had a glass of milk and some of the fantastic cookies my sister-in-law makes for me once a year; they are always part of my Christmas gift and something I look forward to every year.
Now that everything is done, with the exception of some dishes, I can relax for the rest of the night. At least I don't have to put together presents like my brother is doing tonight. Isn't Santa supposed to be doing that?
I would like to wish all of my friends, family and fellow bloggers a wonderful Christmas/Holiday/Hanukkah/Kwanza/December 25th. I have met this breath of fresh air, and this wealth of knowledge in the blog world, in addition to many others who come back here to read, comment and inspire and I want to wish all of you the best during this holiday season and an even more fantastic and prosperous 2006!!
As for Danielle, I have been thinking about your a new color printer all day and if I'm awake when the fat man in the red suit strolls by, I will make sure to let him know that he needs to add you to his delivery list.